With Dusan Bulut and Novi Sad, Serbia proving to be almost invincible when it comes to 3x3 basketball, winning every conceivable title all over the world in the last eight years, including three of the four World Cup titles held so far, would the NBA superstars, if and when they crossed paths, stand a chance against the undisputed kings of half-court?
Not a few have thought about this potential explosive proposition in the world of basketball because aside from the fact that it may not happen in the near future, this new Olympic sport, which will be considered as a medal sport in Tokyo two years from now, the superstars in the NBA are considered untouchables and that nobody even comes close to their level of competency in any competition outside their league.
But then again, 3x3 is a different ball-game, and over here in this basketball territory, Dusan Bulut, Dejan Majstorovic, Marko Savic and a handful of Serbians have been the beasts.
If by a miracle this dream match would happen, how would the NBA superstars match up against these half-court superstars in a 3x3 matchup? Let us consider four key factors that might decide the outcome.
#1 Talent and athleticism
LeBron James is not called 'the King' for nothing. Considered as the best basketballer on the planet today, James could score against any kind of defense with his sheer size and athleticism.
Stephen Curry has revolutionized the game of basketball with his long-range bombs launched at slightest of openings. The two-time MVP could easily nail a game-winner from the half-court and beyond. And with the length of the 3x3 court way shorter, Steph could practically kill from anywhere.
And who can match the scoring threat of the 'Bearded One'? Fresh from an MVP season, James Harden can burn any defender thrown at him with his savvy moves.
Edge: NBA Superstars
It’s a question whether the combined years of their NBA experience can make LeBron and company compensate for their lack of experience in 3x3 courts. And with Serbians mixing it up with world-class ballers practically the whole year, year after year, and winning consistently in this new basketball battlefield, they can somehow close in the gap brought about by their overwhelming talent and athleticism disadvantage against the Americans.
#3 Familiarity with the rules
Although both 5x5 and 3x3 have the same objective of whoever scores more wins the game, there is a world of difference when it comes to some other rules.
For playing in this new version of basketball for almost a decade now, the Serbians have mastered all the rules of 3x3 and have successfully incorporated them in their mindsets, movements, and game plans individually and as a team.
This battle is a must win for the NBA superstars if they have to keep their collective and individual basketball legacies intact.
In this matchup, they would definitely be the overwhelming favorites and losing to Bulut and the Serbians would be unthinkable, not to mention unacceptable. On the other hand, the standing and fame of Bulut and company would hardly be affected by a loss.
Edge: NBA Superstars
With two factors apiece, there can not be a clear winner in this battle on the debate floor. So, the most logical thing left is to make the dream matchup come into a fruition and settle it on the 3x3 hardwood.
The plans of USA Basketball are exclusively centered on making sure that the 2020 basketball Olympic gold medals in 5x5 will remain with the Americans. Will they also form a competitive team composed of NBA players to try to win the inaugural 3x3 Olympic gold medals?
If they do, we will witness a classic battle in the making which will have basketball fans on the edge of their seats.